Category: Herd health

Indiana farmer milks 2,200 cows with 36 robots

Can robots effectively milk cows on large U.S. dairy farms? That’s a question Plymouth, Indiana farmer Brian Houin is determined to answer at his family-owned Homestead Dairy operation. Canadian farmers have had tremendous success using robot milkers in smaller dairy operations, but Houin is putting the milking machines to the test on a whole new level. In… Read more »

Preventing heat stress in a long, hot summer

In the words of country music star Keith Urban: “It’s going to be a long, hot summer.” That’s according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose recent global report states 2018 is shaping up to be the fourth hottest year on record. 2016 remains in the top spot for the hottest year with… Read more »

Why water quality should be monitored throughout summer

Water quality can affect animal welfare and the financial bottom line long before visual symptoms start to appear. “It never bothered them before” is an often-heard refrain when the welfare of animals is impaired by poor water quality. “We just can’t determine the quality of water by just looking at it,” explains Leah Clark of… Read more »

Gene editing allows for polled dairy genetics without the production drag

Semex, a Canadian-based, farmer-owned cattle genetics company, and Recombinetics, a gene-editing company, have formed an alliance to bring hornless dairy cattle genetics forward through the use of TALENs technology. TALENs involves very precise gene editing that makes small adjustments to the genome of an animal to delete, repair, or replace individual elements of DNA. Because dairy cattle breeds… Read more »

Waterbed design aims to keep cows comfy and cool

Better cow comfort can deliver a host of benefits for both the animal and the milk tank. Improving overall cow health, increasing cow longevity, and putting more milk in the tank are all byproducts of cow comfort. Dairy equipment suppliers are also focusing on the growing impact of heat stress, and French manufacturer Bioret Agri… Read more »

Nutrition claims of grass-fed milk require closer scrutiny

Recently, a dairy company out of Wisconsin rolled out its latest marketing campaign, claiming “Organic grass-fed milk is more nutritious. It’s science.” Well, there is good scientific evidence that the composition of milk from cows fed dry hay or fresh forage is higher in omega-3 fatty acids versus cows fed ensiled feed. But, does the… Read more »

Adjusting for heat stress — cow selection, rest, and bunk conditions

Pound for pound, the smaller the cow the better she can keep herself cool during those hot summer days. While the total days per year that cause heat stress aren’t that numerous for much of Canada, there’s a day or two lag in the full impact on the cows. When you add up the hot… Read more »

Watching for ‘Cow Signals’ is time well spent

Every time a cow takes a lame step or stands for a long period of time she’s sending a signal. Farmers who read those signals and respond with efforts to improve cow comfort are rewarded with increased cow longevity and more profit in their pocket. That’s the return on investing in Cow Signals, according to Agribrands… Read more »

Canadian Dairy XPO Attendance Tops 16,000

Dairy producers from across Canada and around the world helped the Canadian Dairy XPO (CDX) establish a record attendance earlier this month. Overall, attendance at the Stratford, Ont., dairy industry trade show surpassed 16,000, breaking the attendance record of 14,900, set last year. Those are huge numbers considering there are about 15,000 dairy farms in… Read more »

Global Innovation Touches Down at Canadian Dairy XPO April 5 and 6

The Canadian Dairy XPO (CDX) returns for its fifth year at the Stratford Rotary Complex April 5 & 6. This year the show coincides with the Spring Discovery Show in Ancaster (April 3 to 6) and the National Holstein Convention in Markham (April 5 to 8). With three national dairy events happening in southwestern Ontario during… Read more »

Mobile Microscope Tests Dairy Somatic Cell Count

A new mobile app from Newmarket, Ontario-based Dairy Quality Inc. is turning iPhones and iPods into microscopes for dairy farmers. The company’s new Dairy Health Check device includes milk sampling slides that plug directly into the phone. This, combined with somatic cells count (SCC) and ketosis testing apps that analyze the samples, turn the phone… Read more »

International Technology Touches Down At Canadian Dairy XPO

News of the growth and success of the Canadian Dairy XPO helped attract a number of international companies to the Stratford, Ontario industry showcase. CDX, which for 2016 moved from its traditional February dates to April 6 and 7, attracted 14,900 visitors over two days. Farmers visiting the new WeCover Cow Coliseum discovered a hub… Read more »

Inside A Cow’s Udder

Dairy farmers are all too familiar with the external signs of mastitis – from swollen quarters to excessive heat and hardening of the udder wall. At the 2016 Canadian Dairy XPO, Alltech Canada’s Dr. Roger Scaletti performed a tissue analysis of an udder to give producers an inside look at where milk comes from and… Read more »

Dairy Farmers of Canada Launch proAction Sustainability Initiative

The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) officially launched their sustainability initiative this week in Ottawa. The initiative, called proAction, includes national standards for milk quality, food safety, animal care, traceability, biosecurity and the environment. It’s a way to showcase what the industry’s strengths, while also encouraging constant progress and improvement. “As dairy farmers, we are… Read more »

Do Your Holsteins Suffer from “Fat Cow Syndrome?” Research Suggests Lower-than-Conventional BCS at Calving

Body condition scoring (BCS) is not a new tool to the livestock industry, by any stretch, but like so many other management indicators, it continues to evolve. In the last decade, researchers have learned that cows have a genetically determined “set point,” something they refer to as “Target BCS.” According to research conducted in 2007… Read more »